After this initial morning strutting of stuff, we all drove like wealthy, happy-go-lucky ne'er-do-wells over the Ligurian Alps to the port town of Savona for some time on a yacht that belonged to one of those thousands of former royal families that still holds onto its precious 16th century glow. Ascots and collars turned up all around. Window-sized, round-frame Yves Saint-Laurent sunglasses covering the crows' feet on all the aging women.
Sailing along at over 120 mph on the autostrada south of Turin in my Ferrari, I was amazed to see, thundering up behind me, a gorgeous 1932 Alfa Romeo 8C 2300 with Zagato Spyder bodywork. The roaring sound from its 2,336cc eight-cylinder and massive exhaust as I let it pass me was one of the loudest I've ever heard. The British driver and his co-pilot wife were suitably dressed in leather, including proper leather headwear and goggles from the 1930s, both smiling through fly-covered teeth.
My time with this inspiring group of people included a stop at Pininfarina in Cambiano, lunch on the roof of the old Fiat plant at Lingotto with its famed test track, and a visit with Giugiaro. At Lingotto, there is a very famous winding ramp that takes cars up to the roof and it was magical to watch and listen to all of these miraculous cars spiral up and up to the top. During the rooftop lunch, the local carabinieri put on quite a show for us, with various Alfa Romeo patrol cars racing around fighting make-believe criminals.
At Pininfarina I spoke a long time with pal Jason Castriota, exterior designer of the Birdcage 75th, 612 Scaglietti, F430 and upcoming 599 GTB. He told me stories of the amazing sound the Birdcage showcar makes with its 700-bhp version of the Enzo engine.
Finally, we all made the trip southeast to Moncalieri and Giugiaro headquarters. Several well-known past show cars were parked out in front, including the Alfa Romeo Brera and BMW Nazca C2, plus an original De Tomaso Pantera. Giorgetto and his son Fabrizio Giugiaro then spoke with us about their project for the NASA international space station living quarters and showed us the modeling department that was in the process of cutting out a new compact model for a Chinese client.
Ferrari offered me a chance to hang out at the final black tie supper with the swarm of well-heeled, but I coyly deferred the invite. See, I'm a slummer boy and there isn't a monkey suit made that fits me.
I jumped back into my 612 Scag and F1-shifted my way home with a top-speed police escort. It wasn't a dream. Yeah, it was.